The internet is virtually omniscient when you perform an efficient internet search. And it’s free. Helpful internet librarians called ‘search engines’ use automated ‘robots’ or ‘spiders’ to gather information. These trawl the net all the time, picking up data as they go. The most powerful search engine is Google, which has 1,156,0473,000,000 individual users per month. But there are other search engines, the most popular being Yahoo, Bing, and Ask. Responses are ranked in order of relevance – if the top search results aren’t answering your question, then the query needs re-wording. Essentially the best way to use a search engine is trial and error, and search engines are designed to be used in that way.
To some extent, how you search depends on what you are looking for. The more obscure the thing you’re searching for, the more unique details you will need to provide: ‘free online university’, will result in a list that shows the title, address and a brief description of what has been found. It will include articles on the subject, the shopfronts, or ‘homepages’ of websites offering online university courses for free, as well as links to anywhere the subject is mentioned, such as a blog page, or online diary. Click on any of these and the search engine will link you to them. If you are actually looking for ‘free Latin lessons’ then saying so at the first search will yield results faster. Having entered your search term once, for example “Paris” many search engines will offer you a choice of web pages, images, maps, news, videos and more.
With a little instruction and patience, anyone can successfully learn to use the internet to find anything they want to know or purchase. The main thing is to have fun doing it!